5 things I’ve learnt from reading... "User Experience Revolution" by Paul Boag

This book is primarily aimed at in-house UX Designers who work within an organisation that is not customer-centric. Despite working agency-side, there were a lot of things I could learn from reading it - especially about how to sell UX ideas into client stakeholders. Here are my top 5.

1. Learn to sell in the benefits of user experience design by telling stories

In order to sell our UX ideas into others, we need to get our colleagues and management to care, and to do that we need to become better at selling the benefits of user experience design.

Tell compelling stories. Spend time with users, get to know them at home and out and about. Find out what they are like as real people and then tell stories about your encounters. Quote phrases they have said and show videos of them struggling to use the interface.

The aim is to help your stakeholders to imagine what it’s like to be a customer. Once they have seen things from their point of view, they will be far more likely to be interested in your digital solutions to the customers’ problems.

2. Then use data to add weight and authority to your arguments

However, some stakeholders will are more concerned with their agendas than fulfilling the needs of customers - this makes convincing them of the value of user experience design very hard. So, you need to find out what they are interested in. Is it improving revenue, reducing costs, increasing shareholder value or something else?

Creating a great user experience will reduce the cost of losing and acquiring customers - because it will improve customer loyalty. More repeat customers means less marketing spend and therefore a lower cost of sale.

Communicate with data. Stories make things personal, but data adds weight and authority. Here’s some examples of usability data points worth collecting: task abandonment ration, time to complete ration, clicks to complete ration, error monitoring, zero search results returned. These can be used alongside reporting against sales KPIs to make a very compelling argument.

My conclusion for points 1 and 2 is really to understand the audience that that you are trying to convince, and to frame your work in a way that will interest them. If you are presenting your work to the Head of UX then talk about how the interface improvements you have made will improve the experience for customers; but if you’re talking to the Head of Online Sales then you may need to relay to them how the improvements you are proposing will improve their sales KPIs.

3. Turn stories and data into management approval for new projects

If you want management to invest, you need to give them a taste of what they’ll be getting. Develop a proof of concept. Choose something small and self-contained that can be prototyped in a week or so.

Be careful not to overwhelm them - as this can cause a "run away and bury head in the sand" effect. Instead, start of by scaring them a little bit, then inspiring them with your solution and finally putting forward a few small steps to get your project started.

Once you have proved the value of something small, you can go for something more impactful.

4. Understand that it will take more than just your expertise to create a great experience

You might be a great designer but you are probably not an expert in improving site performance. You might be a great marketer who understands what the user thinks, but you will know little about point of sale or handling returns.

It is important to seek advice from your colleagues to find out who to talk to, how to present to management, and what to do to get things moving.

Remember that real life is about compromise. Part of successful collaboration is about knowing which battles to fight and which to let go of. But what should you compromise over and when should you stick to your guns? It is worth compromising over the small things to win the war. It is not worth compromising over serving core customer needs.

5) UX Designers need to do everything it takes to put the customer first

"It is time that we live up to our commitment to our customers. We ask you to do everything it takes to place the customer’s needs at the heart of your work."

What does "everything it takes" mean? Here’s a list of activities from this book that UX designers can do, that sit outside of the remit of a classic UX job description:

Read more of my thoughts

What I learnt in a day as a chatbot designer
5 things I’ve learnt from reading... "User Experience Revolution" by Paul Boag
Navigating the journey from ideas to end-users
Two sides to the story: the business and the customer

See all of my thoughts